I’m right now looking at a research chart that has stopped me cold.
It’s part of the Fall-Winter 2017 Smart Audio report from NPR and Edison Research. Find it here: https://www.nationalpublicmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/The-Smart-Audio-Report-from-NPR-and-Edison-Research-Fall-Winter-2017.pdf.
The topic: Smart Speakers.
The broader topic: Conversational Commerce.
The uber-topic: Is this game-changing market transition? One that changes the rules, irrevocably?
The authors asked their U.S. respondents if the time they spent using a Smart Speaker replaced time previously spent with other technologies. Interesting question, eh?
- 39% said yes, it replaced time spent using traditional AM/FM radio.
- 34% said yes, it replaced time spent with a smartphone.
- 30% said yes, it replaced time spent with a television.
- 26% said yes, it replaced time spent with a computer.
The last device that replaced multiple others—cameras, alarm clocks, iPods*—was the smartphone.
Forrester’s Brendan Witcher published a thoughtful set of recommendations last week regarding retail technology investments for 2018. He named today’s top investment areas (what’s hot) and tomorrow’s coming attractions (what’s on the radar).
He also called out five areas of hype—specifically, those new tech opportunities that must yet prove their value. Conversational Commerce was on the Hype list. But not in the way you might think.
Brendan’s point: Customer behavior and expectations for Conversational Commerce are running well ahead of most retailer’s investment plans—especially as some 58% of U.S. online adults who use a voice assistant speaker are interested in (or already using it to order and reorder products.
Tick Tock Tick
Back to the NPR-Edison report for a moment.
Voice-based commerce is moving beyond the reorder-replenishment basics. More than one-in-five respondents have used a smart speaker to order a new product not previously purchased, researched an item you might want to purchase, or added an item to a e-com/con-com shopping cart so it could be reviewed for later purchase.
We’re talking mature e-com shopping behaviors.
- 58 percent of survey respondents have used a smart speaker to purchase household supplies.
- 51 percent to purchase electronics.
- 42 percent to purchase groceries.
This past week, eMarketer cited an April 2018 survey from customer experience platform Navar that claimed that smart speaker device ownership and voice shopping activity have nearly doubled in the most recent six months.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock.
The market continues to grow.
In 2018, eMarketer estimates that 40.7 million U.S. residents will use an Amazon Echo* at least once a month, while 18.0 million will say “Hey Google.”
Nearly 60 million.
Not a bad little cohort.
Yes, the vast majority of U.S. residents still prefer traditional forms of shopping. Of course. And some 48 percent of U.S. households still have landline telephones. And some 190 million-plus U.S. citizens still pay monthly cable television subscriptions.
Tell me what you think.